Kibo Rides Again (War Horse and

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kibo

Member
Mar 22, 2014
239
0
SW PA
Hail hail gang! It has been some time since I shared an opinionated evaluation here (or anything for that matter. I sort of dropped off the map a while.) When I received my latest P&C order, I had to ease my heartache of 'no more Bosun Cut Plug' with a jaunt in the saddle of War Horse ready-cut. Let's do it to it, eh?
I have to preface with the warnings and praise that I've heard about this blend. See, I have a bad habit of being attracted to polarizing blends. This time, the positive reviews were far greater than the naysayers (in fact, I only heard a couple truly negative reviews, the bulk being 'not for me'.) Still, with all the buzz, I couldn't pass it up.

Upon popping the tin (stepping into the barn, if you will), I took a deep breath of quality tobacco. An overall mildly sweet aroma, indicative of the careful selection of ingredients. I noted the Virginia and the dark fired Kentucky immediately, and wisps of that too note, which I struggled with identifying for a moment. I got over it quickly, filing it as a vaguely anise/clove/licorice territory. As with any good steed, you can admire from afar only so long before it is time to saddle up.

As I pinched and packed, I appreciated the feel of it; tobacco that wasn't sopping or tacky, just a comfortable moisture. It settled into the bowl nicely, and I believe it would have lit readily if I weren't battling chilled fingers and an uncooperative lighter in the 20 degree night. Once lit, however, this horse was ready to run, with only a couple relights top to bottom. The layered flavors of the blend certainly entertain. The initial draw of each bowl greeted me with a slow unfolding of sweet date and cut alfalfa fields, all trotting along with a slow, gentle whisper of that licorice-y top, lightly peppered with dark fired. Upon exhaling, the damply rich Perique notes rear up in an absolutely soothing aftertaste. Coming and going, the intriguing complexity shines through. As pompous as that sounds, I can state it no more plainly; this is a blend that doesn't make me dig for hidden flavors. This is more like a doberge than a jambalaya; the entirety does not blot out the individual components.

Halfway through, the top note is nearly gone, as the dark fired and Perique stand up a little more. All through, a fine gallop of earthy, hearty tobacco flavors that most moderate to well seasoned pipers can enjoy fondly. The overall smoke is not hot, very easy to pull, with a healthy mane of smoke rising. This blend brings out a feeling, a set of memories of clearing fields, fresh clean country air on a warm sunny day; a mellow, satisfying feeling of light leisure. Most tobaccos evoke some feelings, but honestly, nothing so deep as this; I am endeared more to this tobacco far more than I expected. Before I knew it, I had a bowl of light grey/white ash.

Like taking a draft horse for a trail ride, War Horse ready cut may seem a bit imposing, perhaps downright intimidating to some, but once at ease, it is a smooth, delightful experience. I highly recommend both to any afficionado of the respective hobby. However, beginners should take caution on both counts; slow and easy is key in each.
I shall return when I have War Horse Bar and Green tins to wax Kibotic. Happy smoking all!

 

klause

Preferred Member
Jul 9, 2012
554
0
That was a cracking good read, Kibo.
I'm looking forward to your next foray into the warhorse stables.

 

papipeguy

Preferred Member
Jul 31, 2010
15,799
5
Bethlehem, Pa.
Great story, kibo. You must let us know when you jump in the saddle with the Bar And Green as they are different animals. Strap yourself in and enjoy.

 

markthelad

Preferred Member
Mar 18, 2014
587
1
Kibo, good review, I like your style! Warhorse is a staple of my cellar, not quite a go-to blend for me, but I smoke a bowl every couple days or so.

Thanks for an entertaining read! :clap:

 

kibo

Member
Mar 22, 2014
239
0
SW PA
Thanks for the compliments all!
The Bar and Green reviews are coming soon, but I wanted to get on here with my preface (so I don't forget to mention it later!) about my prep methods. I cut a length of the bar to what I need (for relevance sake, think 'vertical'), then cut the sliver in half perpendicular to the first cut (horizontal). I rub out one of those halves as is, then 'cube down' the other one before rubbing out. I mix the long and shorts together and let them air as needed (per blend; Bar gets a few minutes so far, Green gets maybe 20-30 min).
Really enjoying both blends, but I want to get a couple more bowls of each, smoked in other pipes.

 

kibo

Member
Mar 22, 2014
239
0
SW PA
Sorry about the long delay. I just couldn't manage to type with a broken hand, but the cast is off and I am back! Let's get to it!
War Horse Bar, the much lauded rebirth of Gallagher's classic blend...It is difficult to put to words anything to do it true justice. Popping open the tin, the robust blend of tobacco and a light aroma similar to opening a bag of Scandinavian black licorice. After my experiences with the Ready Rubbed, I was eager to saddle up with the original. I prepped enough for what I estimated was two bowls and grabbed a M.M. Patriot (my common starting point with most blends is a cob first, to suss out the nuances a bit) and a bottle of water. Despite the wind's protests, I got the charring light, following tamp....and realized it didn't need another light; this horse was ready to run too. I settled in to my porch rocker, took a moderate pull...and felt underwhelmed for a second. Let me quantify this; I had heard so much about the potency of this blend, potency not just in its strength, but also the flavor profile. What I got on the first pull was a great mix of smoky and almost peppery flavor tangled with a sweetness and earthiness, the flavors of the core components...but the anise note was absent, it seemed. The slow exhale corrected me; it was there all along with a smooth floral essence, hidden in the spaces in between everything else. Second draw, and I was more aware of the fruit and floral notes and the anise. Did I psych myself out before the first pull? I caught myself a few moments later, realizing that I'd been smoking this blend pretty steadily...and yet I wasn't swimming or spinning. I stood to stretch and damn near fell over. Oh yes, the strength is real, and really deceptive. Like getting lost in the steady stride of a Brabant and travelling farther that intended, I was too busy weighing the flavor and ease of smoking to realize it was hammering me. This is a terrific compliment in my mind, as most strong blends stand up and smack you in the face with their power. War Horse bar doesn't sneak up on you...you're on the ride, after all. It just comes down to how attentive you are to the ride. Of course, I would not recommend smoking this one on an empty stomach. Before I knew it, I was a little over halfway through. I only discovered this because it was time for my first relight! I tipped a bit of the almost purely white ash out, tamped, and relit. Top to bottom, the flavor was rock steady. The finish came shockingly abrupt...a draw, and exhale, and...nothing. A clean burn, only lit twice, and nothing but soft off-white ash in the bowl. I needed more, immediately. A few sips of water, a quick return to the house to grab my Vienna meerschaum. The second bowl performed every bit as well as the first, and the flavors came through every bit as full. I cannot recommend this blend enough. Saddle up, and make sure you're ready, because this ride demands (and rewards) attentiveness.
A few days later (and a massive burst of willpower to get me away from the WH Bar!), I took the War Horse Green for its first canter. When I opened the tin, I was a bit taken aback by the scent that greeted me. This is a decidedly different animal, despite sharing the same core components as the WH Bar. Shock aside, the smell is quite pleasant, yet less of the tobacco aroma. I can best describe War Horse Green's tin note as the smell of a bakery/confectioners that is currently making anise pizzelles and biscotti. Saddling again with an MM Patriot (a newer one this time, broken in with Carter Hall), I lit, tamped...and sure as most of the smokes with WH Bar, no relight was needed. The initial draw here came with full flavor; a much more prevalent taste of anise and a sweet hard-to-place flavor over top of the tobacco. This mystery sweetness, as well as an almost menthol-like minty note on the exhale, definitely tell you this is a horse of a different color. Overall, the flavorings don't dominate the blend but do stand up front. That may be a little bit of a turn off for some, but I find it a great change-up from the other War Horse offerings. While I expected a hearty canter from this ride, the Green insisted on a nice trot. Notably milder (In feeling if not overall composition) and aforementioned flavor profile, this feels more like a ride on an older Percheron; still plenty of power and get-up-and-go, but it prefers things more leisurely. Just as with the WH Bar, relights were scarcely needed, and the end came in a blink, leaving only light ash at the end. Again, the blend is robust, so I recommend at least a decent snack before a pipe of War Horse Green. I highly recommend this alongside the War Horse Bar. If you can manage it, grab War Horse Bar and Green at the same time, give the Bar your attention first to understand the origin and structure, then the Green to see how tremendous a difference that a few small tweaks can make.
Thank you Standard Tobacco Company of Pennsylvania! You folks do our state proud, and I cannot wait to see what comes next!

 

woodsroad

Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
8,277
54
Kibo, I'm glad that you enjoyed the ride. Thanks for the great review. Where in PA are you?

 

papipeguy

Preferred Member
Jul 31, 2010
15,799
5
Bethlehem, Pa.
Kibo, thanks for those very thorough and entertaining reviews. Well done, sir, and I'm happy to hear you enjoy both of the Horses.

 

lasttango

Preferred Member
Sep 29, 2012
870
2
Wilmington, De / Ithaca, NY
I just had a nice big bowl of the Red Bar. It was so good. I ordered a few back-up tins immediately upon coming inside.
This feels like the tobacco I have been searching for. It was strong and delicious. It smoked so well.
I have a few tins of the Green Bar and I am very excited to try that. I love anise flavor in tobacco.

 

kibo

Member
Mar 22, 2014
239
0
SW PA
@woodsroad, I am a little ride south of Pittsburgh. @papipeguy and @condorlover, these three are in the regular rotation for me. In fact, I'm enjoying a bowl of WHB now.
Glad you all enjoyed my reviews. That encourages me to do more. I think my next up will be Bengal Slices in a couple weeks... I have a lovely new churchwarden for all my Latakia blends, and a recent shortage of said blends.

 

kibo

Member
Mar 22, 2014
239
0
SW PA
Oh! Hahah, terribly sorry. I'm a bit out of sorts today. Please forgive my absent-mindedness.